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On our grounds: Discover our hiking trails

Summer is an excellent time to explore the Cary Institute's trail system. Our forests, fields, and meadows are filled with plant and animal life.
While walking along the Cary Pines Trail, experience the melodic "da-vee-ur, vee-ur, veer, veer" song of the veery, a tawny thrush. This neotropical songbird spends its summers breeding in our forests; its complex song is part of its mating ritual.

Keep your eye on the trail's edge—you may spot a red eft looking for food. As adults, these salamanders are aquatic. During their terrestrial juvenile phase, they are easiest to spot after a rainstorm.

The Sedge Meadow Trail is best taken in slowly, the better to observe butterflies, moths, and wildflowers. Try spotting an Appalachian brown or an eyed brown in the Wet Meadow. These brush-footed butterflies are vulnerable to wetland development. As you pass the Old Hay Field, look for the lilac blooms of wild bergamot. These aromatic flowers attract a variety of pollinators, such as the snowberry clearwing, a moth that looks like a bumblebee.

If you are seeking tranquility, stop by the Fern Glen and take in the babbling of Wappinger Creek, a stately stone bridge, and the lush plant life that characterizes this wetland oasis. You might even spot a painted turtle in the Fern Glen pond or a great spangled fritillary dining on the nectar of thistles or Joe-Pye weed, a native perennial herb.

Planning a visit? Our trails are open from dawn to dusk through October 31. Roadway gates open at 8:30 a.m. and are locked at 7 p.m. Our kiosks contain trail maps and interpretive materials, including guides to birds and butterflies. You can learn more at